No matter what city, suburb, or neighborhood parks are in, gangs have probably found their way into them. This peer-to-peer conversation is about the gang issues many parks face but don’t address, and possible solutions to assist in managing them. Topics will include park staff awareness (the ability to identify potential situations before they happen), how to make gang members feel non-threatened by staff and ensure them they are a part of the community, how to program despite gang issues, and how to convince gang members to help their park become a better place for their community.
When dealing with gangs, parks staff must understand we cannot arrest our way out of the problem. Facilitators will discuss how and when to call law enforcement (some keywords and language to identify problems could save a life), and how these same gang members can be useful in helping the at-risk kids they once wanted to recruit, and mentor them instead.
Recreation Facility Director, City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks